Welcome back to the most remarkable period ever (well, in my opinion): the ’80s. V/H/S/85 serves as the sixth instalment in the popular V/H/S series, where viewers are introduced to various segments (or short films), all played directly from a mysterious videotape. Unlike the previous entries, there is no real story surrounding the tape’s discovery, nor do we know who’s watching. But one thing is for sure: viewers should strap in when V/H/S/85 begins to play, as anything can happen.
Here we follow five new segments (or short films): “Total Copy,” directed by David Bruckner; “Dreamkill,” directed by Scott Derrickson; “TKNOGD,” directed by Natasha Kermani; “No Wake,” directed by Mike P. Nelson; and lastly, “God of Death,” directed by Gigi Saul Guerrero. Each short film is highly different, offering a mixture of genres, from classic slashers and murder mysteries to sci-fi aspects.
Like the previous V/H/S instalments, viewers will be treated to many retro vibes. Not only do we have the concept of watching a VHS tape with various commercials and static appearing throughout, but the 1980s period within all the segments is fun, especially aspects such as the costume designs, hairstyles, technology and more.
As for the five stories, I’m generally divided on this one. I found some stories clever, creative, and exciting, but sadly, just as I became invested and curious, the story would abruptly end, forcing me to move on. Other segments were either slow, drawn out or overstayed their welcome. At various times, I found that some directors were more interested in creating an atmosphere with a slower pace and bizarre imagery rather than offering viewers a profound, more compelling and exciting story.
Overall, those who adore this series will know what they’re up against. Once again, this series successfully offers horror lovers new stories, all different and unique, thanks to the various talents behind the camera, including Director Scott Derrickson (best known for his recent work on The Black Phone). As for the segments, it’s a mixed bag for me. I found joy in some of the ideas and stories, but sometimes, I found the runtime dragging or stories overstaying their welcome. The retro aspects, including the concept that viewers are watching a VHS tape from the 1980s, are once again a fun (and highly random) experience.
V/H/S/85 (2023) is Now Available Exclusively on Shudder.